Price •  Origin
|Warranty Score: *****|
Made in USA
Tom Robbins Design
933 Northfield Drive
Hayward, CA 94544
No written warranty.
See the review for more information.
If you are looking for a truly one-of-a-kind designer faucet to complete your new upscale one-of-a-kind designer kitchen, bath or bar, what you need is your very own personal, on-call, one-of-a-kind, concierge faucet designer.
Fortunately, there is such a person, and, as far as we can tell, just one such person in North America, maybe the world: Tom Robbins, the proprietor, chief designer, boss engineer, head fabricator, senior metal smith and custodian-in-charge of Tom Robbins Design, a one man design studio and workshop in Hayward, California (by way of Scottsbluff, Nebraska — Go Big Red).
Robbins designs and builds faucets: unique, beautiful faucets, by hand, one at a time. And, he does it for about the same price your would pay for a THG or Waterworks faucet that is made to your order and custom-ized, but definitely not custom.
You can expect to pay at least $1,000 for a hand-made copy of a faucet already in Robbins' extensive design inventory (for example a copy of the faucet designed especially for Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston when they were still a couple). If you want your own personal design as well as a hand made faucet, then expect to shell out as much as $5,000, even more. For that out-size check you get a truly unique, one-of-a-kind, never-to-be-duplicated custom faucet that no one else has or ever will have. Talk about making the girls in the bridge club green with envy!
Robbins' creative credentials are impressive. He is an award-winning industrial designer with over 35 years of design experience and 17 design and utility patents to his name. He designed for Faucets, including the acclaimed Minos Faucet Series, winner of Interior Design Magazine's Roscoe Award for design excellence.
He eventually rose to become head of industrial design for Kallista, creating the Athos Faucet Line and the Bacchus Kitchen and Bar faucet series which continues to be a Kallista best seller to this day. Kallista is now a part of the Kohler empire and the trade name used to distinguish Kohler's designer line of faucets, sanitary wares and accessories from regular, run-of-the-mill, Kohler products.
Robbins has also designed for He collaborated on the design of the Tomi line of Asian-inspired faucets and accessories for Island Hardware in Hawaii. Many of his designs are still very much in production, for example, his Ula faucet has been in the Mico Designs collection for over ten years.
Unfortunately, we have never installed a Robbins Design faucet, never even seen one, in fact, outside of a photograph. They are more than a tad out of our price range for samples. So, this review departs from one of our basic requirements for reviewing faucets — we don't normally review faucets unless we have gotten our hands one one or two to take apart and look at. But, we thought the idea of a custom free-lance faucet designer so interesting that we could not resist. Ok! Ok! We have no will-power, and cannot resist a beautiful faucet.
In any case, a lot of our review criteria do not apply to Robbins Design. Warranty is an example. We can't score Robbins' written warranty, he does not have a written warranty. His is a hand-shake business. If it breaks, and it's his fault, he'll fix it, of course, but expect a long wait for parts that may have to be custom made. None of our customer service tests apply. Customer service is whatever time he can spare. If he's elbow deep in a casting and the phone rings, don't expect that he will jump up and answer it. Robbins swears that uses only the finest components, including the best cartridge valves available, only lead-free brass, and proven faucet finishes — and for the prices he charges, why would he use anything but the best?
The one-of-a-kind faucets are not tested and certified to comply with ASME A112.18.1. It would be an impossible economic burden to test just one faucet. But, Robbins assures us that his faucets do meet or exceed the standard.
Robbins will create designs for short production runs, so if you happen to own an upscale apartment house, hotel or casino and you need some unique faucets, you might want to contact Robbins Design. He will also create coordinated designs for accessories and other room hardware including door handles and hinges, just to complete the look. Takes a little longer and costs a little more, but it can be done.
By the way, if you happen to have a Robbins Design faucet that we can tear apart for a look-see, please let us know. We'll happily pay the shipping, both ways, and it's for a good cause. Otherwise, if you have had any experience with a Tom Robbins faucet, — good, bad or indifferent — that you would like to share, please fill us in or leave a comment below.